The Isle, Early Access Dinosaurs
The Isle is a multiplayer dinosaur survival game that was released in 2015 and has been in early access since. Despite this long development time it’s a promising and unique entry in gaming. Development is far from dead and the Developers are making this very apparent. Because of this, I think it should get some of the spotlight.
What is The Isle?
As previously stated the game initially came out in late 2015. Development has persisted consistently and the team behind it have been very open with it through their public roadmap. On this they show each of their big goals and what they need to do to finish said goal and mark them off as they are completed. Due to this and the consistent Dev Blogs, there is a level of transparency that players appreciate.
The Isle is a multiplayer survival game where you can play as dinosaurs on a massive island with other players. You can play as herbivores and carnivores and group up with other people of the same type of giant reptile. It’s simple in concept and is a really solid base for the rest of the game to be built on.
If there is one thing The Isle does well, it’s the Dinosaurs. There are dozens of different ones to choose from. And the first choice you have to make is Carnivore or Herbivore. You may want to jump in as a T-Rex right off the bat, but without herbivores to eat you’re not going to survive for long. And since this game is multiplayer only, no herbivores means no carnivores.
That being said herbivores are very fun and can be very dangerous. Take the Ankylosaurus for example, hard back, and a heavy club for a tail. Meaning anything that tries to mess with it gets hit and likely has bones broken. This makes this herbivore a massive threat and very capable from defending itself from targets it’s size or smaller.
My favorite is known as the Diabloceratops which is a faster growing version of the Triceratops. It’s a little smaller and doesn’t hit as hard but its faster and looks cool. Hiding from and outrunning large predators is easier, and small predators need to be cautious. But there are many more dinosaurs to experience in The Isle and they are worth checking out.
The map in The Isle is absolutely massive. I have played for 8 hours and haven’t seen the whole thing yet. There are many unique areas on the map and it definitely feels like a dense jungle island. This made every place feel new and I never really went “Oh I’ve been here before.”.
But while this upside is a strong part of the game, its also one of it’s biggest flaws in my eyes. They set up an insanely large map, but due to that size and how slow you can move depending on your dinosaur, it can feel like an eternity. Especially when your hunger and water meter are going down just after leaving the river.
Food and Water
This also brings up another issue, food and water are relatively difficult to come by, even for herbivores. As a herbivore every dinosaur eats a different food, and those are only in specific areas. And you can only see those with your scent ability, but scent doesn’t work in the rain, and this is a jungle. So as a herbivore you are encouraged to sit around food and water during nighttime or when it’s raining. And it’s probably going to be one of those two things, for what is real life hours (depending on the server).
If traversing was faster, food went down slower, or scent worked in the rain, this issue would be immensely curbed. Any single one of those would help a lot. But as I’ve heard, the Developers of The Isle are working on solutions so this issue shouldn’t persist for too long.
Normally I wouldn’t make a section talking about the players. But your entire experience will be based on the server and the people in it. The Isle is a multiplayer dinosaur simulator and thus other players are an integral part of the game and your experience. They will dictate if you get killed over and over, or if you find a group to team up with, so how is the game’s community?
Well there were a couple times where people killed just to kill, there were others who would jump in to help people if they needed it. The community is pretty balanced. A couple just want to watch the world burn and others want to make the game enjoyable for everyone else. If one server doesn’t have a community you want, I highly suggest going to another. Each server has a different group and it should be easier to find one for you.
Also it should be said that the community in The Isle is pretty congregated on a couple servers. So there aren’t many servers to choose from and get a cool experience but if you get in one of the populated servers it’ll be very enjoyable.
What do I think of The Isle? At worst it is a rough and slow experience that really drags on. Consisting of you either walking really slowly towards food and water, or standing around until you need to eat and drink again. But this game has the exact opposite effect when you enter the right server.
At best it is a unique and interesting idea that can grab my attention very easily. You can be evading large predators by hiding in the brush or burrowing into the ground. Or you can become that large predator, stomping through the forest and closing in on large prey. Making smaller creatures flee from you as you hunt for food. And in both experiences you can group up with other creatures like you, not always based on species. A t-rex and velociraptor prowling together, or a Triceratops and an Ankylosaurus protecting smaller herbivores.
The Isle is only as fun as you make it and if the simulator genre is for you. The game is an extremely good simulator but I am not very into that genre so for me it was a mixed experience. But the people involved in this game are very invested and the community supports them fully. This makes me look forward to see the development for the game and I do think I will continue to play it.
The Isle is a sim so naturally if you like simulators, this game is perfectly up your alley. I myself am not very into simulators so it’s flaws stuck out very easily for me and I was more negative towards it. The game is very fun for that group and I heavily recommend it to any Sim players.
The Isle is sold for $20 usd on steam and is in Early Access.